General Assembly Adopts Text Underscoring States’ Responsibility to Investigate, Prosecute Crimes in Fight against Impunity

22 August 2013
GA/11401

General Assembly Adopts Text Underscoring States’ Responsibility to Investigate, Prosecute Crimes in Fight against Impunity

22 August 2013
General Assembly
GA/11401
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

95th Meeting (PM)

General Assembly Adopts Text Underscoring States’ Responsibility to Investigate,

Prosecute Crimes in Fight against Impunity

 

193-Strong Body Also Appoints Bolivia Member of Palestinian Rights Committee

Calling yet again for universal membership of the International Criminal Court, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution underscoring the investigative and prosecutorial responsibility of States, as well as the importance of cooperation with non-signatories to the Rome Statute under which the judicial body was established, in the fight against impunity.

By terms of the text, sponsored by 59 Member States and adopted by consensus, the Assembly, bearing in mind that the Court was complementary to national criminal jurisdictions, underlined the need for States to adopt appropriate national legal measures to investigate and prosecute crimes for which international law required them to exercise that responsibility.

As in previous relevant resolutions, the 193-nation body welcomed new States parties to the Statute and called on non-parties to consider ratifying or acceding to it without delay.  [ Côte d’Ivoire became the latest State party, bringing the total to 122.]  Similarly, the Assembly urged those States not yet parties to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court to sign up to it.

Also highlighted in the text was the importance of the cooperation and assistance provided by States parties, non-States parties, the United Nations, as well as other international and regional organizations.  In particular, the Assembly called upon the obliged States to ensure cooperation and assistance in the arrest and surrender of suspects, in the provision of evidence, in the protection and relocation of victims and witnesses, and in the enforcement of sentences.

The Assembly encouraged further dialogue between the Court and the United Nations, and welcomed the increased interaction between the judicial institution and the Security Council under various formats, including open debate on peace and justice, with a special focus on the Court’s role.

Further by the text, the Assembly acknowledged the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Organization (document A/67/1), which refers to the Court’s first judgement, against the Democratic Republic of Congo warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, as constituting an important step in ensuring the accountability of those responsible for international crimes.

Speaking in explanation of position after the text’s adoption, Brazil’s representative expressed concern that, although the Assembly noted the need to fund investigations or prosecutions, including situations referred by the Security Council, it had failed to translate that need into action.

Along similar lines, South Africa’s delegate expressed disappointment that the text did not address the important issue of financing, stating that the costs should be borne by the United Nations as a whole, not only States parties.

Sudan’s representative pointed out that, since his country was not a State party, it did not recognize the Court’s jurisdiction, and would, therefore, not recognize its decisions.  That applied to other non-States parties to the Statute, he said, adding that he was not interested in today’s resolution.

Slovenia’s representative, speaking on behalf of other States parties, described today’s action as the cornerstone of the Court’s advance.  The resolution was essential to the judicial body’s relationship with the entire United Nations system and its Member States, as well as to its progress and to addressing the challenges it faced.  He expressed concern over the financing aspect of the Court’s activities, especially the need for investigation-related funding, adding that finding a solution acceptable to all States must be part of future negotiations.

Costa Rica’s delegate, aligning himself with the previous speaker, highlighted the importance of achieving universality of the Rome Statute and of the Court’s growing workload.

In other business today, the Assembly appointed Bolivia as a member of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, bringing total membership to 26 United Nations Member States and 24 observers.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.